We have three episodes of ‘The White Lotus’ and I have a feeling that the movie lover must be enjoying himself quite a bit. for the references that Mike White, creator and director, is using to tell this story of wealthy guests in a hotel in Sicily.
And it is that, as in last week’s episode (2×02), with the character of Jennifer Coolidge living her dream of becoming Monica Vitti for one day aboard a Vespa, this time it is another character who becomes the actress with a new tribute.
A new tribute to ‘The Adventure’ (L’Avventura) by Michelangelo Antonioni in which we see Harper, the Aubrey Plaza character, noticing the stares (and close-ups) of a number of men on what she is waiting for in a Sicilian piazza.
shot to shot
Something that has been reproduced practically shot by shot:
L’Avventura (1960) // The White Lotus (2022):
Aubrey Plaza stepping into Monica Vitti’s shoes. We love an Antonioni reference. pic.twitter.com/I6PRx19jZg
— Lydia Tár’s Tailored Suit (@HunseckerProxy) November 14, 2022
The idea of making this tribute came from the cinematographer, Xavier Grobet, when they realized they were in the exact location where Antonioni filmed ‘The Adventure’. In the words of White to Variety, that film had an impact on him:
«As someone who saw her young, I was like “Is this what happens in Italy? Are the guys there like that?” They are so brash and aggressive with her and there is a kind of menace in the air.”
A scene that perfectly encapsulates the theme of an episode about sexual politics and dynamics between men and women. Something with which Mike White has wanted «to lean on the archetype of Italian men who approach a woman on the street».
Beyond the concrete scene, White highlights the parallels between the film and the series:
«’The adventure’ is about the desperate search for the meaning of life as much as the search for the missing woman. Clearly White Lotus touches on the malaise of rich people and that kind of search for meaning when you’re just lying in an infinity pool.”
A tribute to cinema with ‘The Godfather’ and Antonioni as axes
On the other hand, ‘The adventure’ is not the only film that influences season 2 of ‘The White Lotus’ as an excuse to speak and portray the theme of these episodes. ‘The Godfather’ also comes up, when also moving to where one of the mythical scenes of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece was filmed.
Specifically the car bomb that took the life of Apollonia, the woman who meets Michael (Al Pacino) when he takes refuge in Sicily. A scene related by Bert (F. Murray Abraham), at the reproach of her grandson Albie (Adam DiMarco), who considers it a fantasy for masculinity (“Men love ‘The Godfather’ because they feel emasculated by society”).
Regardless of whether or not it fits into the theme of this season 2 of ‘The White Lotus’, White’s purpose with these episodes is to show Sicily as a source of inspiration for classic cinema, whether Italian or American.